DNR offices reopen after flooding

Clean-up, repairs nearly completed

Published On: Dec 10 2013 12:21:42 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 11 2013 08:46:48 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Cold temperatures Monday night caused a pipe to burst at a state agency in downtown Madison affecting six floors in the building, officials said.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said the Department of Natural Resources building on South Webster Street will return to normal operations on Wednesday.

The DOA said a pipe burst causing flooding down the west side of the building Monday night.

DNR Spokesman Bill Cosh said sub-zero temperatures caused the pipe in the HVAC system to break.

Officials became aware of the flooding water issue at about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, and the building was closed to employees around 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Cleanup crews were at the building, sometimes referred to as the G.E.F. II building, cleaning up water with wet vacuums, replacing damaged ceiling tiles and evaluating reparation needs.

Other than the repairs, officials said the impact to workstations or computer equipment was minor.

"There wasn't any real depth to it. The carpets were saturated. In many areas ceiling tiles had fallen down onto work stations. We have some electronics that were damaged, and we're still making assessments as we go through the day," Cathy Stepp, DNR secretary, said.

Six of the building's eight floors were affected by the flooding, Marquis said. Floors four and eight did not have issues.

DNR services remain open to the general public, according to a release. The DNR call center that is housed in G.E.F. II is being answered by DNR staff remotely. A State Natural Resources Board meeting scheduled Tuesday was moved to G.E.F. III, Cosh said.

The heating system is working, and the plumbing and clean-up crews are drying the affected areas overnight.

"We are focused on repairing the damage quickly and do not have a cost estimate of the damage at this time," Marquis said.

According to the release, future mold or leak issues are not expected, but as a precaution, carpets will be steam cleaned using an antibacterial solution.

Officials said the cause has not yet been determined, but it appears the HVAC system did not function properly and pulled in cold air overnight that caused the pipes to freeze and burst.

Some of the water in the pipes had a diluted mixture of a rust inhibitor that's used in HVAC systems and is being cleaned up on-site, according to the release.